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The Little Yoga Mat

Yoga Mats for Kids Made Easier by this Mompreneur

March 7, 2016

We hear the message that yoga is great for our kids, and how relaxing and wonderful it is. Easier said than done, when you have your hands full and no free time. How can you make your kids excited about yoga from the get-go, and into the whole idea without having to force it on them? The answer? Yoga mats for kids! The Little Yoga Mat recently caught my attention a few weeks ago at a kids’ fair. I stopped and realized, “Wow. This is actually really breakthrough. It’s making practicing yoga accessible to small people. This is important.”

Check out our interview with The Little Yoga Mat’s founder, Jensen Wheeler Wolfe.

The Little Yoga Mat

Can you tell me a little bit about your experience with yoga, and kids, and yoga with kids? I am a certified yoga instructor. I was trained at White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, and Virayoga with Lois Nesbitt in New York, and I have a 500 hour teacher certification from the National Yoga Alliance.
I taught adults for about 10 years – was on the staff at a few studios in NYC. But when my daughter entered preschool in 2006 they needed a yoga teacher there so I started teaching weekly. I also taught in her elementary school – 3rd grade. ​

How did you come up with the idea of a kid’s yoga mat, and why do you think it’s important? I launched The Little Yoga Mat because there weren’t other small yoga mats on the market. I saw how much the kids in my classes enjoyed having a mat their size. We live in a pretty adult world and kids can use their parent’s mat, but I’m hearing again and again from customers that their kids love having a mini yoga mat. I do a Q&A every few months with a yogi called Featured Yogi StarEvery time I ask the kids why they like my mat they say, “because it is mine and my size.” Moms also like the hip patterns, bright colors, and that they are completely chemical-free.

How can a parent teach their young child yoga, especially with another maybe younger child at home… Any tips? If they are tot size then know that a very short yoga session is fine. Fifteen minutes is a good length and you could do several fifteen minute sessions in a day. If a mom has a tot and a baby, they could do the poses on their mat with the baby: holding them in standing poses and laying the baby on a mat next to Mom, and the toddler can copy the poses Mom is doing on their own mat. Stories are great for toddlers. Create a scene (jungle, beach, meadow) and as you explore the sounds, scents, and sights of the landscape- add a few poses. If you are not comfortable storytelling there are some great books out there that can help you. I have a recommended list (scroll down the page for book list).
What are the most popular yoga poses for kids? Hmmmmmm. Depends on the age. Babies love to do yoga with mom- meaning mom holding or touching them. Bicycle wheel legs on their back (also referred to as gas relieving pose!), elevator (on the why-yoga page). Tots love animal poses because you make the sound while doing the pose. Lion, cow, cat, dog, frog. Or the silent ones: butterfly, cobra, fish, bird.
Jensen Wheeler Wolfe founded The Little Yoga Mat, after creating mats for her daughter’s pre-school. She has completed yoga teacher trainings at White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, and from Virayoga in New York City. She is a registered teacher with the National Yoga Alliance. Jensen has a diverse background that includes acting and dancing professionally, fact checking for magazines and producing cooking, history and theatrical documentaries for television. For the past 15 years, she has taught yoga to adults and children in New York City where she lives in a 5-flight walk up with her husband and daughter. Her daughter has this awesome YouTube channel too!